Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Nobel Prize for Literature yet again.

A year after the Swedish Academy shocked the world with its choice of Bob Dylan as the Nobel laureate for literature, the jury is preparing to unveil this year’s winner of the prestigious honour.

The academy, an assembly of 18 Swedes who are elected by secret ballot to their roles and hold them for life, has revealed that the Nobel laureate in literature will be announced on 5 October. More than half of the academy’s members must vote for the eventual winner, who is chosen from about 350 proposals made by literary experts and former Nobel laureates from around the world. Intended to honour Alfred Nobel’s desire to reward “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”, the SEK9m (£832,000) award has gone to 113 writers since 1901 – of whom 14 were women, 28 wrote in English and 77 wrote in prose.

Last year’s choice, singer-songwriter Dylan, proved controversial, particularly when Dylan initially failed to acknowledge his win – for which he was described as “impolite and arrogant” by academy member Per Wastberg – and then failed to attend the prize ceremony. Instead, he collected the award at a private ceremony four months later, and delivered his Nobel lecture – the sole requirement for receiving the prize money – just before the deadline passed. Dylan, selected “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, was later rumoured to have written his speech using the website SparkNotes.

This year, despite betting firm Unibet offering odds on everyone from George RR Martin to Kanye West to take the award, the academy is expected to plump for a safer choice. At Ladbrokes, which found last year that 91% of the time, the eventual laureate had odds of 10/1 or less when betting was suspended, the field was topped by perennial contenders, Kenya’s Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, at 4/1, and Japan’s Haruki Murakami, at 5/1. The last black writer to win the Nobel was the American novelist Toni Morrison in 1993, and the last black winner from Africa was Wole Soyinka in 1986.


Village Elder
But if Thiong'o wins that will be unfair. Kenya has 43 tribes, and Wangari has already won from Mt Kenya. Kwani Kenya ni ya kabila moja pekee, seriously?
Dear @admin,
I have mentioned you to report the massacre of yet another thread. I also suggest we suggest @FieldMarshal CouchP for consideration in the Nobel Prize for Literature. This comment should be introduced to the syllabus


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The reason why Ngûgi misses out year in year out is the same Chinua missed out, language. Being well versed in English language, the two rebelled against the English hegemony in anglophone Africa. Though Achebe was said to have built English his lack of fidelity to the grammar and semantics "disgusted" the hegemonists. Ngûgi's (and others) push for the study of oral literature and African litt, a fight against James Stewart the head of english dpt, that led to the separation of litt from english. His subsequent choice of gîkuyu as his language of the pen also put him in wrong books with the canonists. Soyinka on the other hand received a nobel for his fidelity to high English. Hopefully the ideology has changed and the nobel group may think differently this time
Tarimbo post_id=375032 time=1406407704 user_id=1899 said:
heeheee a little knowledge of literature is dangerous. a similar debate erupted in Daily Nation sometime back piiting David Mailu who asked Ngugi to come home, Evan Mwangi who incidentally did his MA on Mailu and his PhD on seral writers including Ngugi and Mukoma wa Ngugi. Mailu ended up accussing them of sacrificing intellectuallism at the altar of ethnicity and nepotism ( he failed to see Mukoma as a scholar and writer in his own right) Joyce Nyairo (I think) then waded in to moderate by stating that the construct of home is fluid in a post-modern society.

To understand and critic a writer of Ngugi's calibre you don't merely focus on individual texts but the whole body of works from which you thread out his philosophy. Writers write in a continuum with each text carrying on from the previous to address current issues in society. those who don't move in a continuum are locked in time and space and become irrelevant, this is why Taban loliyong posits that publishers trapped Okot p'Bitek in songs and thats why he started losing his artistic mojo. But I digress (*Why do Kenyan journalists or sub-editors or editors like using this statement?*)

Anyways, the first question to ask is; If Ngugi didnot tackle Kenyattaism, why was he detained? Let us now look at Ngugi through the ages. Ngugi's books have always captured the aspirations and challenges of the society at given historical periods. River Between is a study into how African societies were divided by colonialism and its attendant enforcer, Christianity. It paints the picture of a new generation emerging from this duality but trying to negotiate the two worlds. Weep Not Child tells the story of a young Njoroge trying to find meaning in a dispossessed colonial system with Njoroge struggling to find space and meaning in life through education as his brothers chose to join mau Mau freedom fighters. At the background to the novel is the absent character of Kenyatta that looms large like Ibrahim Bakayoko in Sembene Ousmane's God's Bits of Wood and informs Njoroge's aspirations. A Grain of Wheat historcizes the idiosyncratic impacts of the liberation struggle on individuals based on the choices they made or the sides they picked in the struggle. Although betrayed by his friend Kamau who decided to be a collaborator and therefore escaped detention, a fate that befell Gikonyo, at the end the spirit of Harambee as espoused by Kenyatta on independence day compels Gikonyo to forgive his wife and his friend.

That marked the end of the Ngugi-Kenyatta bromance. when Kenyatta got down to the business of ruling he distanced himself from the peasants and the freedom fighters and instead surrounded himself with the sons of collaborators especially colonial chiefs like Koinange, Muhoho, Njonjo etc. this group birthed a new class of the African oppressors and exploiters. Ngugi didnot spare them and he went for them hammer and tongs. He attacked the thieving class presided over by Kenyatta in books such as Devil on the Cross where he had the thieving class holding meeting to celebrate their thieving ways. Petals of Blood his treatise on exploitation and oppression has characters named Nderi (vulture or hawk) and calls for a revolution by the oppressed peasants against this thieving class that was protected and facilitated by Kenyattaism. Kenyatta was mad and Njonjo took up the fight on behalf of Mzee claiming that calling oneself Kamau wa Njoroge doesn't make you an intellectual. weka yeye ndani! Ngugi stated in Detained that he could never see eye to eye with Njonjo because he (Ngugi)) was a son of a peasant who fought against colonialism and Njonjo the son of a colonial chief. After detention Ngugi continued with his community theatre through the Kamirithu (it must be stated here that Ngugi is the father of street theatre and participatory community theatre in Kenya that has morphed into a billion dollar NGO industry and the most conspicuous of them being Bunge la Mwananchi). I Will Marry When I Want a play that he developed from the workshops at Kamirithu expounds how the thieving class of Kenyattaism stole from peasants and used their ill-gained wealth to impregnate the peasants' daughters and deserting them. Moi following Kenyatta's nyayo decided to hammer Ngugi and he sent the now CORD stalwart senator then PC David Musila to demolish Kamirithu theatre. To Ngugi, Kenyatta a son of a peasant like him had betrayed the struggle.

The continuum should be now clear that from then onwards if he hammers Moi it's because Moi has inherited Kenyattaism and continues to betray the cause. Expecting Ngugi in Wizard of the Crow to go back to thrashing a dead horse in Kenyatta is asking him to stunt the growth of his body of work. You might say that Moi called it upon himself by ruling single-handedly merely using and discarding pawns while Kenyatta created a class structure that he used to rule. By attacking the class Ngugi is essentially attacking Kenyatta in the same way he is attacking Moi for the ills that befell Kenya.

Abenea Ndago just needs to spend more time in a literature class. I would recommend he sits in a class by Henry Indangasi (an anti-Ngugist who however doesnot let his feelings for the man cloud his critic of the writer's works) and D.H Kiiru. He could also consult Chris Wanjala a prominent student of Ngugi. Anyway but such is literature and her discourses

This was by far the best post about this Ngugi Nobel issue written by one Tarimbo at back in 2014.
I tend to believe Taban Mokotiyang Rekenet lo Liyong's opinion that kenya is a literary desert.
I never found thiong'os writing influential enough compared to other African writings which are much shorter. But he's earned his place in that domain.